Nepal President Bidya Devi Bhandari on Thursday prorogued the Budget Session of Parliament following a Cabinet meeting and her interaction with Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, The Kathmandu Post reported. This came amid significant backlash against Oli in his country after claiming that the Indian government and his political rivals were plotting to oust him from power
Ahead of the meeting, Oli held a one-on-one discussion with Bhandari about the situation. He also met former Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal (Prachanda), News18 reported.
Oli’s remark against India on June 28 came over a week after Nepal approved a bill to redraw the country’s map demarcating the Lipulekh mountain pass, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura – the area at the centre of the dispute between India and Nepal – under its territory. “Efforts are being made to remove me from power, but that will not succeed,” Oli said during an official gathering. “I have smelt undercurrent movements. There have been various kinds of activities in the embassies and hotels. If you listen to the news media from Delhi, you will get the gesture.”
On June 30, the ruling Nepal Communist Party held a meeting of its Standing Committee, ostensibly to discuss the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. However, three top leaders from the party, including its co-chairperson Dahal, demanded that he resign as both prime minister and party chairperson.
“Not only Dahal, all Standing Committee members who spoke today unequivocally demanded Oli’s resignation from both the party chair and the government saying that he cannot run both,” Jhala Nath Kanal, a former prime minister, said. “This ongoing Standing Committee will decide his fate.”
Dahal said at the meeting that Oli’s claim about a conspiracy by India and his political opponents was an attack on Nepal’s independence and right to self-determination. He added that Oli should produce evidence of an Indian conspiracy to oust him, and summon New Delhi’s ambassador to Kathmandu if the allegations were true.
“I had asked for your resignation as party chair and prime minister before the new map was endorsed,” Dahal said. “Such statements don’t suit you. You should step down.”
On Wednesday, more party leaders demanded Oli’s resignation from both posts. Peshal Khatiwada, Leelamani Pokhrel and Matrika Yadav asked Oli to quit, while Yogesh Bhattarai and Nanda Kumar Prasain wanted him to change his working style.
Yadav claimed that Oli was “mentally, physically and ideologically unfit” to serve as prime minister and chairperson of the Nepal Communist Party. “Oli tried to defend himself by making statements that contradict diplomatic decorum, so we should not do more injustice to him by giving him more responsibility.”
The Standing Committee meeting continued on Thursday, The Himalayan Times reported. Oli, who had not attended the meeting on some days last week, remained absent.
Border tensions between Nepal and India have grown over the past few months. India has objected to Nepal’s move to include Lipulekh mountain pass, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura in its territory and warned the country to not resort to any “artificial enlargement of territorial claims”.
Nepal maintains that India has claimed the disputed region by building the Darchula-Lipulekh link road despite repeated objections. India, on the other hand, said that the road falls within its territory.